DSL NewsWire: Maggie Black, Who Taught Top Dancers of All Disciplines, Dies at Age 85

Maggie Black, who for decades earned renown for teaching famous ballet and modern dancers how to leap and turn in ways, as she put it, that “humans weren’t really made to do,” configuring their bodies to avoid injuries and even to heal them, died on May 11 at her home in East Hampton, New York. She was 85.

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DSL NewsWire: Web Series Follows Young Hopefuls at Miami City Ballet School

The first season of Strictly Ballet, a web series from Teen Vogue that documents the lives of up-and-coming dancers vying for a coveted spot in a world-renowned ballet company, focused on New York City Ballet. This season the series takes a trip south: to the shores of Miami Beach.

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DSL NewsWire: Laid-Off Sacramento Ballet Dancers Organize Own Performance

More than 20 dancers with Sacramento Ballet were laid off last week in a cost-cutting move, and now are cramming for a performance they had organized on their own in just a matter of days.

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DSL NewsWire: Anecdotes and Accolades Remembered on ABT’s 75th Anniversary Website

ABT’s 75th anniversary website; photo by Fabrizio Ferri

American Ballet Theatre invites fans to join in the company’s continued celebration of its 75th anniversary by perusing a new website that highlights ABT through the decades.

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DSL NewsWire: Study Shows Hip-Hop Tops Ballet for Children’s Exercise

Pediatrics study; photo courtesy Getty Images

A study published in the journal Pediatrics says that only 30 percent of ballet class is spent in substantial exercise, and that most kinds of dance classes aren’t providing anywhere near the recommended amounts of physical activity suggested for children and adolescents, says Time magazine.

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DSL NewsWire: Des Moines’ Grand Dame of Dance, Mary Joyce Lind Thomas, Dies

Mary Joyce (Lind) Thomas; photo by Bill Neibergall/Des Moines Register

The 90-year-old grand dame of Des Moines, Iowa, dance took her final bow May 10. Mary Joyce (Lind) has died after teaching thousands of students in a career that spanned more than 70 years, reported the Des Moines Register.

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DSL NewsWire: SF Ballet School Hosts Open House for Boys

San Francisco Ballet School students in class; photo copyright Erik Tomasson

San Francisco Ballet School—America’s first professional ballet school—will host a free open house on Saturday, May 16 at 1pm, for boys ages 8 to 11 and their parents to find out more about the school’s boy’s training program. The event includes a facility tour, rehearsal observation, and Q&A session with school staff. No ballet experience is needed. To register, visit school.sfballet.org/boys or call 415.865.6700.

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DSL NewsWire: View From the Wings Inspired Filmmaker to Create ABT Documentary

American Ballet Theatre: A History; photo courtesy Monsters & Critics

There are many ballet documentaries—including a couple on the American Ballet Theatre—but none has ever described the essence and beauty of dance as masterfully as Ric Burns’ American Ballet Theatre: A History, premiering May 15 at 9pm on PBS’ American Masters.

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DSL NewsWire: Autistic Children, Kids and Moms, Invited to Ballet San Jose’s Cinderella

Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley’s Cinderella; photo courtesy Facebook

Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley is running two special outreach programs in connection with this weekend’s production of Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella that will allow children with special needs, plus underserved children and their mothers, to attend live performances of the classic ballet.

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DSL NewsWire: One of the 20th-Century Ballet Greats, Maya Plisetskaya, Dies at 89

Maya Plisetskaya; photo courtesy Reuters

Maya Plisetskaya, a star of Russia’s Bolshoi ballet who overcame a legacy of Stalinist oppression to redefine her art and be feted as the greatest ballerina of her generation, has died in Germany.

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May-June 2015 | FYI

Taking a bow at the 11th International Competition for The Erik Bruhn Prize are winners (from left) Yury Yanowsky,, Hannah Fischer, and Carlo Di Lanno. Photo by Bruce Zinger

What’s up in the dance community:

Filmmakers Tap Into Inspiration

Dance in Hidden Spaces

Chicago Dance History Project

Erik Bruhn Prize Winners

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DSL NewsWire: Ballet West Student With Tongan Ancestry to Dance for King’s Coronation

Eliana Vaha’i Feao; photo courtesy Maven magazine

Perhaps Salt Lake City dancer Eliana Vaha’i Feao fell in love with ballet when she was 18 months old, watching the movie Barbie in the Nutcracker. Now, in addition to regular classes, Eliana often rehearses the wedding variation from The Sleeping Beauty with Ballet West prima ballerina Christiana Bennett, and has been invited to perform the dance this summer at the coronation of the King of Tonga.

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DSL NewsWire: City of Orlando Supports Ballet With Creation of Art Gallery

Orlando Ballet; photo by Michelle Revels

In another sign of the city’s ongoing commitment to promoting the arts, Orlando will be loaning memorabilia to Orlando Ballet to help it create a permanent gallery display at its new home.

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DSL NewsWire: School Founded by an Oprah “Local Hero” Is Without a Home

Ballet Afrique; photo by TaKiyah Wallace/TakePart

The founder of an African American ballet company and school in Austin, Texas, featured in Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine as a “Local Hero” in a 2012 article, will move her studio out of its space at the Highland Mall on Thursday when Austin Community College’s expansion plans begin. As of now, Ballet Afrique does not have a new place to go.

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DSL NewsWire: Think Tank Addresses Scarcity of Female Ballet Choreographers

Jennifer Homans; photo by Chang W. Lee/New York Times

A fellowship created to address the scarcity of female choreographers in ballet was announced on Monday night at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University.

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DSL NewsWire: Teacher Battles Chronic Condition as She Shares Ballet With Low-Income Students

Mnikesa Whitaker; photo by Patrick Raycraft /Hartford Courant

Since 2011, Mnikesa Whitaker has led BalletHaven, a remarkable afterschool dance program at Fair Haven Middle School in New Haven, Connecticut, that gives young girls of mostly low-income backgrounds access to high-quality ballet instruction.

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DSL NewsWire: Public Invited to Tour ABT School on the West Coast

Open house at ABT Gillespie School; photo by Rosalie O’Connor

A May 2 open house at the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California, will feature open classes, studio tours, performances, faculty meet and greets, food trucks, and fun.

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DSL NewsWire: New Director, Peter Merz, Sees Growth in Ballet West Academy’s Future

Peter LeBreton Merz; photo courtesy Ballet West

Former professional dancer and ballet educator Peter LeBreton Merz has been hired as the new director of the Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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DSL NewsWire: Dance Headliners Support DC Underserved Youth Program

CityDance Dream program; photo courtesy Facebook

Guest artists from BalletX, Charlotte Ballet, Momix, Orlando Ballet, plus Fabrice Calmels of The Joffrey Ballet, and Bad Boys of Dance star Rasta Thomas, will headline a performance that benefits a youth development and arts education program that provides free performances, arts school, and summer camp programs to the Washington DC–region’s most underserved neighborhoods.

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DSL NewsWire: Live DJ Mixes Bach and Beyoncé in New Work by Dwight Rhoden

Dwight Rhoden with Charlotte Ballet; photo by Jeff Hahne

The Charlotte [NC] Ballet’s new work by choreographer Dwight Rhoden has dancers performing to a mix of Bach and Beyoncé thrown down by a live DJ on stage.

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DSL NewsWire: Flint Ballet Students’ Shoe Drive Helps Others and Protects the Environment

Young People’s Ballet Theatre shoe drive; photo by Michelle Farleo

Young People’s Ballet Theatre of Flint, Michigan, is once again holding a shoe collection drive with multiple purposes: to support their mission of dance education in the Flint community, to benefit microenterprise ventures in developing nations, and to keep old shoes out of local landfills.

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DSL NewsWire: Effort Seeks to Help Arts Organizations Grab and Keep 20-Something Audiences

Ballet Austin; photo courtesy Facebook

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Austin, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, along with 23 symphony orchestras, opera companies, theaters, and other arts-based organizations, will learn how to better grow and sustain their audiences through the New York–based Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability effort.

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DSL NewsWire: Inspirational Misty Copeland’s Own Motivation Was Nadia Comaneci

Misty Copeland on Time magazine cover; photo courtesy the New York Times

“Like all gymnasts, I’ve done some ballet—it’s a part of our program. And people don’t realize the tremendous amount of time and work you have to put in to do the maneuvers they do. Ballerinas like Misty Copeland look so beautiful and perfect, but it takes thousands of hours of hard work to make it look that easy.”

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DSL NewsWire: New PBT School Annex Expected to Boost Enrollment by 40 Percent

Artist rendering of PBT’s new annex; image courtesy Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

At a gala marking the final weekend of its 45th mainstage season, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) last week announced a $20 million campaign that will expand its PBT School and its presence in the region and the dance community at large.

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DSL NewsWire: Experienced Tutu-Makers in Short Supply

A dancer in full tutu; photo by Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters

A shortage of costume makers (stitchers in industry speak; tutu-makers in public parlance) is causing headaches at opera and ballet companies around the world, reported Newsweek.

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DSL NewsWire: New Frankenstein Ballet Amps Down Horror in Favor of Love

Liam Scarlett; photo by Richard Saker

San Francisco Ballet and The Royal Ballet’s co-production of the gothic classic Frankenstein will be choreographed by The Royal Ballet’s artist in residence, Liam Scarlett.

Frankenstein will premiere May 4, 2016 at The Royal Ballet, with SF Ballet presenting the full-length production during its 2017 repertory season.

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DSL NewsWire: From Bows to Band-Aids: NYCB Through Fun Facts and Figures

NYCB logo; courtesy Facebook

To the uninitiated, life at New York City Ballet may seem like a frothy confection of princes, silky pink ribbons, and countless curtain calls, all wrapped in tulle. The reality is quite different: hours of practice, day after day, year after year. Here is a brief chassé through NYCB’s world, with facts and figures presented by T, the New York Times’ style magazine:

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DSL NewsWire: Past and Present of ABT Explored in Live-Streaming Event

ABT’s Alicia Alonso and Igor Youskevitch in George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations (1947); photo courtesy Facebook

A three-part retrospective exploring American Ballet Theatre’s contributions to American dance over the past 75 years will be shared with ballet fans across the country through a special live-streaming event this coming Sunday and Monday.

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DSL NewsWire: Documentary Considers How Professional Ballet Was Kept Alive in Omaha

It Starts with a Step; poster image courtesy Ballet Nebraska

In the midst of wrapping up its fifth successful season, Ballet Nebraska is pausing to take a look back at the abrupt folding of Omaha Theater Ballet in 2010, and the subsequent rise of a new company that would keep professional ballet alive and happening in Omaha.

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DSL NewsWire: Maryland Youth Ballet Looks to Expand Challenged Student Program

Maryland Youth Ballet’s Music and Motion program; photo courtesy Larry Miller

Maryland Youth Ballet in Silver Spring is teaching classical ballet to students with physical disabilities—including some diagnosed with disorders like cerebral palsy and Rett syndrome, which may require wheelchairs and constant care—that some would not expect to see in a dance studio.

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DSL NewsWire: Designers Find Inspiration for Spring Lines in Ballet Class

Ballet-inspired spring fashions; photo courtesy Fox News KMSP

Barre classes—which combine components of ballet, yoga, and Pilates—are the latest exercise trend, and it looks like designers have followed suit. Spring looks included some beautiful nods to dance-inspired style that can be re-created without pointe shoes and leg warmers.

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DSL NewsWire: Dark, Gritty TV Ballet Drama Set to Debut November 8

Flesh and Bone; image courtesy TV Line

Starz’s Flesh and Bone, an eight-part limited series that follows a young dancer with a distinctly troubled past as she joins a prestigious ballet company in New York, will make its debut November 8, according to Deadline.

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DSL NewsWire: Copeland and Mack Make History With Sold-Out Shows of Swan Lake

Misty Copeland and Brooklyn Mack in Swan Lake; photo by Emily Jan/NPR

In a historic move, two African American ballet dancers performed the lead roles in The Washington Ballet’s Swan Lake last week at the Kennedy Center—the first time this has been done in a major ballet company, and challenging the idea of what principal roles in classical ballets should look like.

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DSL NewsWire: Philly Nonprofit Brings Ballet Performances, Training Into Public Schools

Wissahickon Dance Academy students preview Carmen; photo by Lindsay Browning

International Ballet Exchange’s (IBE) Ballet Building Bridges program, which introduces Philadelphia public school students to dance and the performing arts through performances of fully staged story ballets, is now preparing for May performances of Carmen.

IBE, a Philadelphia nonprofit that provides low-income students with classical ballet educational and performance opportunities, has been presenting ballets for Philadelphia School District students since its founding in 1999.

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DSL NewsWire: Corporate Workers Look to Ballet to Counter High Pressure, Stress

Ballet counters corporate stress; photo courtesy Not Always Working

The recent influx of traditional ballet and ballet-based classes, squarely aimed at the busy corporate office worker, seems to say that pure classical ballet technique is the ultimate antidote to a high-pressure, stressful working environment, says the Guardian.

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DSL NewsWire: PNB Dancers’ Photo Series Highlights Interesting Seattle Locales

Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers in a vintage photo shoot for Humans of Ballet; photo by Day Kol

A historic hotel in the heart of Seattle, a forest outside Redmond, Seattle’s EMP Museum: all are settings for Humans of Ballet, an ambitious project that melds the beauty of the human form with interesting and beautiful places, reports King 5 News.

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DSL NewsWire: American Dance Institute to Shutter School; Focus on Presenting Dance

American Dance Institute school; photo courtesy American Dance Institute

American Dance Institute, founded 15 years ago in Rockville, Maryland, plans to spend less time teaching dance and more time supporting dancers and presenting new work—including with a New York season next year, the organization announced Friday.

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DSL NewsWire: OBT Readies New Work by Former Beyoncé and Savion Glover Choreographer

Darrell Grand Moultrie works with Oregon Ballet Theatre; photo by Blaine Truitt Covert

Darrell Grand Moultrie, a Brooklyn-based choreographer who has worked with Beyoncé on her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour two years ago, and with the Tony Award–winning dancer Savion Glover, is now rehearsing Oregon Ballet Theatre (OBT) for a new work.

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DSL NewsWire: New Freestanding Barre Offers Easy Assembly and Custom Lengths

Custom Barres product featured in Fox TV’s Glee; photo courtesy Custom Barres

The new Arabesque barre features fully welded hardware, eliminating the need for connectors and difficult assembly, and no tools are necessary to tighten the base screws. Arabesque barres come in custom lengths from 4 to 16 feet. An adjustable version of Arabesque that can be fitted to either a growing child or an adult’s height will ship later this spring.

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DSL NewsWire: Angel Corella Plans Blockbuster Season for Pennsylvania Ballet

Pennsylvania Ballet in Serenade; photo by Alexander Iziliaev

Justin Peck, Liam Scarlett, Wayne McGregor, Christopher Wheeldon: they’re among the hottest young choreographers in ballet today. And Pennsylvania Ballet will dance their works and more next year in a blockbuster-packed season, artistic director Angel Corella told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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DSL NewsWire: DTH Exists to Prove That, in Ballet, Color Doesn’t Matter

Dance Theatre of Harlem; photo by Rachel Neville

“Panel after panel convenes to ask why there are not more dancers of color in ballet. My heart sinks every time. Where is Dance Theatre of Harlem in this conversation?” asks DTH artistic director and former professional dancer Virginia Johnson in a column in Huffington Post.

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DSL NewsWire: Series Seeks To Address Lack of Female Ballet Choreographers

Gleish Dances; photo Kelsey Campbell

CounterPointe3, the third edition of an annual curated performance series that features 11 women choreographers making new work en pointe, will run April 10 to 12 in downtown Brooklyn’s The Actors Fund Arts Center.

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DSL NewsWire: Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet’s Closing a Cautionary Tale

Jin Young Lin of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet; photo by Andrea Mohin/New York Times

With a wealthy patron who loved dance, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet was the envy of many in New York’s dance world.

But the perils of relying on a single donor became clear this month when Cedar Lake’s founder and benefactor—Nancy Laurie, a Walmart heiress—had a change of heart and announced that she would close the company after performances in June at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

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DSL NewsWire: Stellar Performances Mark Competition for Erik Bruhn Prize

Hannah Fischer; photo by Bruce Zinger

The National Ballet of Canada’s Hannah Fischer and Carlo Di Lanno of San Francisco Ballet were winners at The Eleventh International Competition for The Erik Bruhn Prize, held Tuesday night at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, according to CBC News.

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DSL NewsWire: David Hallberg Presents Ballet Companies That Influenced Him

David Hallberg; photo courtesy David H. Koch Theater

David Hallberg will introduce top international ballet companies and share an insider’s perspective on the works and the institutions that have left an indelible impression on him as an artist during “David Hallberg Presents: Legacy,” to be presented in association with the Youth America Grand Prix, April 17 at 7pm at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, New York City.

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DSL NewsWire: Bolshoi’s Galina Petrova, Who Danced in the ’30s, Dies at Age 101

Former principal ballet dancer of the Bolshoi Theater, choreography teacher, and merited artist of the Russian Federation, Galina Petrova, died in Moscow last week. She was 101, the press service of the Bolshoi Theater reported in Tass.

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DSL NewsWire: Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet Announces Closure

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet; photo by Andrea Mohin/New York Times

“We are sad to announce the closing of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet,” the company announced on its website. “It has been our honor to work with some of the best dancers and choreographers in the world and we thank all of our valued employees who helped create many inspirational productions over the years.” It was not immediately clear what led to the decision to close.

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DSL NewsWire: Ric Burns’ Documentary American Masters: American Ballet Theatre Screens March 23

American Masters: ABT; photo courtesy PBS

The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage hosts the world premiere screening of American Masters: American Ballet Theatre on Monday, March 23 at 6pm in the Terrace Theater at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

American Masters: American Ballet Theatre, a feature-length documentary produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Ric Burns, celebrates ABT’s legacy through rehearsal footage, performances, and interviews with key figures from the company’s rich history.

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DSL NewsWire: Bolshoi Ballet Coming to Movie Theaters

Svetlana Zakharova in Lady of the Camellias; photo by Svetlana Fetisova, courtesy Bolshoi Ballet

The 2015–16 season of “Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema,” presented by Pathé Live and BY Experience, will show seven full-length ballets—three prerecorded (so the casts are known) and four shown live or on the day of performance—in some 450 spots across the United States and Canada, reports the New York Times ArtsBeat.

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DSL NewsWire: Precious Puppies Help to Ease Job Stress at American Ballet Theatre

ABT’s Lauren Post and Pickles; photo courtesy Instagram

Ballet dancers have a tough life: so how about a softer, cuddlier look at the dance life, thanks to Instagram.

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